08.03.2022 Local News

Census 2021: What It Reveals About The Eastern Suburbs

Census 2021: What It Reveals About The Eastern Suburbs

Every five years, the Census takes a national snapshot of Australia’s economic, social and cultural makeup.

The recently released data from the 2021 Census provides a fascinating insight into how we live here in the eastern suburbs.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has recently released key population data from the 2021 Census. We find out what it reveals about how we live here in the eastern suburbs.

What does the Census tell us about ourselves?

The median age of a Woollahra local government area resident is 41, up from 39 in 2016. Meanwhile, the average resident in the Waverley council area is 35 years old, just as they were five years ago. There are slightly more women living in both local government areas (53.4% of Woollahra residents and 51.5% of Waverley denizens are female). The median weekly household income in Woollahra LGA is $3250, and in Waverley, it’s $2361, both notably higher than the state ($1558) and national ($1507) medians.

What makes us unique?

Woollahra and Waverley’s residents are fortunate to enjoy a higher rate of good health than NSW and Australia at large, with 70.5% of Woollahra inhabitants and 72.8% of Waverley dwellers reporting that they suffer from none of the long-term health conditions asked about in the Census. Compare that with wider NSW and Australia, where only 64.9% and 64.1% of people said they lived with none of the selected conditions.

Our local areas are also home to more couples and singles than the rest of the state and country.

In NSW, family households make up 71.2% of all households, while across the nation, it’s 70.5%. Here in Woollahra, that figure drops to 62.1%, and in Waverley, it’s even lower at 60.4%. We have a higher proportion of couple families without children, too – 46.6% of Woollahra families and 44.6% of Waverley families are couples without children, compared to 37.9% of NSW and 38.8% of Australian families.

Instead, single person households are more prevalent in our LGAs. In Woollahra, 31.7% of homes are single person households, while in Waverley, it’s 29.9%. Compare that with NSW, where only 25% of households are single person households, and Australia at large, where it’s 25.6%. 51.1% of Waverley residents and 40.7% of Woollahra residents have never married, compared to 35.7% of NSW inhabitants and 36.5% of Australian residents.

We also have a higher proportion of group households than the rest of the state and the country – 6.2% of Woollahra and 9.6% of Waverley households are group households, contrasted with only 3.8% of NSW and 3.9% of Australian households.

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What does the Census tell us about property in the eastern suburbs?

The average number of bedrooms per home in Woollahra LGA is 2.7, while in Waverley, homes are slightly smaller with an average of 2.4 bedrooms. Both are less than the state and national averages of 3.1 bedrooms per dwelling. It makes sense then that the average number of people per household in both areas is 2.3, also less than the NSW average of 2.6 and the Australian average of 2.5.

Does the Census shed any light on housing affordability?

The problem of worsening housing affordability has recently received a great deal of attention from both the media and the federal and state governments. What does the Census tell us about the situation here in the eastern suburbs?

Both rent and mortgage repayments have risen in Woollahra and Waverley LGAs since the last Census was conducted in 2016. In Woollahra, median monthly mortgage repayments have increased from $3200 to $3900 in the previous five years. In Waverley, mortgage repayments have gone up from $3000 to $3500 over the same period. Given that Sydney property values rose by 27.7% between September 2020 and May 2022, according to CoreLogic, it stands to reason that mortgages are now larger. Rents have also grown in both LGAs over the last five years. In 2016, the median weekly rent in Woollahra was $650; in 2021, it was $695. In Waverley, rent has climbed from $622 to $670 over the same period.

Does that mean some eastern suburbs households are now experiencing mortgage or rental stress? Given that these stresses are defined as housing costs (either mortgage repayments or rent payments) greater than 30% of the gross household income, the Census figures say yes. In Woollahra LGA, 22.5% of homes owned with a mortgage have repayments more than 30% of their household income, while 35% of renter households’ rent payments are greater than 30% of their income. In Waverley, the figures are similar, with 20.9% of properties owned with a mortgage and 31.7% of renter households meeting the definition for mortgage or rental stress.

What does the Census reveal about the downsizer housing shortage in the eastern suburbs?

We’ve written before about the lack of quality options for downsizers in the eastern suburbs. Has the situation improved at all since the last Census in 2016? The figures for Woollahra indicate that in that LGA, not much has changed. In 2016, 21.3% of Woollahra properties were freestanding homes, 22.3% were semis, townhouses or terraces, and 55.1% were units. Five years later, freestanding homes now comprise one per cent more of Woollahra’s housing stock, at 22.3%, while semis, townhouses and terraces have dropped to 21%, and units have risen very slightly to 55.6%.

Is the situation any better in Waverley LGA? Five years ago, 16.5% of Waverley homes were freestanding houses, while semis, townhouses and terraces were 19% of the area’s housing and units 62.6%. Fast forward to 2021, and the LGA is now home to more units. They now make up 64.1% of Waverley’s homes, while freestanding houses have dropped back to 16% and semis, townhouses and terraces are now 18.1%.

Thinking about buying or selling in Sydney’s eastern suburbs? Get in touch with our team today.